“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”
— James Jesus Angleton, chief of CIA counterintelligence, 1954 – 1975
On 28/10/2013 the British Prime Minister defended the mass-surveillance programs by his intelligence services, “who do such important work to keep our country safe“. David Cameron criticised the publication of “damaging material” and warned that, “it is much better to appeal to newspapers’ sense of social responsibility. However, if they do not demonstrate some social responsibility, it will be very difficult for the Government to stand back and not to act.“
More than 60 years ago George Orwell wrote about a fictitious future British society, where all subjects would be kept under constant indoctrination and surveillance by “telescreens” – devices which operate 24/7 as both televisions and security cameras. The government would justify these actions as imperative security measure in a state of war.
A work of fiction becomes reality
“… we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence—on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.
It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.”
– John F. Kennedy, 35th US-President, April 27, 1961
A mysterious affair
While the true circumstances forcing Bolivians President Morales’ plane to land in Vienna, Austria might never be revealed, it definitely was a great demonstration of that “tightly knit, highly efficient machine” in action.
On 06/06/2013, The Washington Post and The Guardian started publishing classified documents revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of telecommunications companies and at least nine leading U.S. Internet companies:
Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube.
Using such facilities means that audio and video chats, e-mails, photographs and documents can be copied and analysed – inclusive connection logs – by a third party.
“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type” (Snowden)
No April Fool’s Day joke
On April 1, 2013 Judge Richard Sullivan of an US District Court in New York / USA ruled that digital music cannot be sold second hand
Digital audio files, like videos, images, texts or any other data are at the very core of computation represented by just two digits:
- 0 = power off
- 1 = power on
Reading this very text from your display right now means that your computer has “downloaded” to your hard-drive the required digital pattern of ones and zeroes together with the blueprint to reassemble them on your screen. As a result you are in possession of an identical copy of my digital edition of “Arrested Development”.
Sending you a printed edition by mail instead, would have taken more efforts and time but above all: this certain print would no longer be in my possession!
The Cyberspace — a virtual reality created by electrons
Keep It Short and Simple – KISS is the motto for presenting our information on this website. The basic text is extended with footnotes and referrals to other sources, while putting the pointer above blue text snippets [sample] lets text boxes appear containing additional facts.
Speaking in IT-terms: keeping a lean system core, extensible with optional add-ons.
Not only a human brain better apprehends a short and simple text, also every electronic calculator crunches short numbers faster than endless columns of figures. In fact adhering to the KISS principle saves efforts which in electronics equal to energy savings.
Why then did the PC develop hardware obesity together with software bloat?
“What do we mean by an Information Society? We mean one in which human capacity is expanded, built up, nourished, and liberated, by giving people access to the tools and technologies they need, with the education and training to use them effectively.“
– Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, November 16, 2005
Committing all nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty
In 1948 George Orwell’s wrote his famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, describing a terrifying vision of a future society where all citizens have been brainwashed into loyal subjects genuinely loving “Big Brother” – a dictator exercising absolute authority by keeping everybody under total surveillance.
Today Big Brother is a synonym for the violation of privacy by excessively collecting, storing and processing – often illegally – enormous amounts of personal data in the pursuit of more efficient marketing, greater social control, and more powerful mechanisms for monitoring of the citizen.
If You’re Not Paying for It; You’re the Product!
Today, 202 years ago, Johann Ludwig Krapf was born. He lived from 1810 to 1881 and was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer, linguist, and traveller.
Largely forgotten today, he wrote the first grammar (1850) and dictionary (1882) of the Kiswahili language!
Why does Krapf’s activity serve us as a guide for Tanzanian IT-development?
Welcome to the virtual location of the KUKU Trust. 🙂
In the real world our site is the city of Dar es Salaam at the East African coast. The name “Dar es Salaam” has Arabic roots and means “haven of peace”. And indeed: I have hardly met more friendly and humble people anywhere else.
“Kuku”, a word of their Kiswahili language, is the unisex name for poultry. Eating is a popular activity around here and kuku the favourite dish of the most. 😉
In our case though, KUKU is the abbreviation of “Kompyuta ya Umma Kiswahili Uhuru”. Kompyuta ya Umma is “the people’s computer”. Uhuru means freedom. Uhuru is also our name for an operating system in Kiswahili language. KUKU outlines the objective of our activity:
Helping Tanzania to overcome the Digital Divide by her own means
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Richard Buckminster Fuller